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Democrats Harrassed by Capitol Police

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Whenever a Democratic member of Congress is reported to have trouble with the US Capitol Police one can be assured that one person is always involved -- Terrance Gainer, the Republican former Chief of the Capitol Police and Harry Reid's mortifying pick as Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. In March 2006, Gainer, who was embroiled in a nepotism scandal, defended his police force after a scuffle ensued between a US Capitol cop and then-Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA).

Our sources on the Hill said that McKinney was targeted by Gainer and the Republican leadership in a ploy to embarrass her. The incident was referred to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia rather than handled internally. Shortly after Gainer resigned as chief, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) was involved in a minor automobile accident on Capitol Hill. Gainer weighed in again and suggested that Kennedy should have been given a sobriety test by the Capitol cops.

Now, we have the case of Phillip Thompson, executive assistant to Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb, who was arrested Monday by the Capitol Police at the Russell Senate Office Building for carrying a loaded pistol allegedly given to him by Webb. The Capitol Police enforced a DC law that prohibits anyone other than law enforcement officers from carrying weapons in the District. Webb said he has a license to carry a concealed weapon in Virginia and Thompson, an ex-Marine, inadvertently carried the weapon into the building after dropping Webb off at the airport.

However, the US Capitol Police jumped into Democrat-bashing mode when one spokesman said he had never heard of a member of Congress carrying a concealed weapon. The Capitol Police are partially overseen by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms -- Terrance Gainer. A former Chicago cop, whose rookie year included clubbing demonstrators over their heads at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, later went on to run the Illinois State Police. Former Governor George Ryan cited Illinois state police misconduct when he commuted the death sentences of Illinois' death row population.

Rather than extend professional courtesy to Webb and Thompson, the Capitol Police, a quasi-GOP Gestapo, threw the book at Thompson. Details of the incident were leaked by the cops to Fox News and other neo-con outlets, as what also occurred with McKinney and Kennedy. Weapons are carried into the Congress every day by security personnel for Pentagon and other Cabinet officials, intelligence agency heads, Governors of states, ambassadors, and foreign heads of state, including one of the most recent visitors -- King Abdullah of Jordan.

One question for the Democrats -- why does the Capitol Police grant weapons carrying privileges to Jordanians when they do not extend the same courtesy to Americans helping to protect a U.S. Senator? Perhaps a Democratic Senate Sergeant-at-Arms will clear up this idiocy.

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